Tribute: Beloved Teacher

Surgeon Kamal Mansour devoted his career to Emory

Retired Emory professor, cardiothoracic surgeon, and dedicated alumnus Kamal Mansour 68MR died June 6, 2016.

Mansour first came to Emory in 1966 as chief resident in cardiothoracic surgery at Emory University Hospital. During the next 38 years, he became a renowned expert in tracheal resection and reconstruction, major chest wall resections, correction of chest wall deformities, and esophageal replacement.

An international pioneer in his discipline, Mansour shared his passion for medicine with thousands of Emory students, faculty, and patients as a chief resident, professor, and mentor. His devotion to teaching and medicine earned him the nickname “The Professor” from Emory residents and the University’s highest alumni honor, the Emory Medal, in 2008. In 2011 he was named one of Emory University’s 175 Makers of History on the occasion of the University’s 175th anniversary.

Robert Guyton, chief of cardiothoracic surgery at Emory University Hospital and director of the Thoracic Surgery Residency Program at Emory School of Medicine, worked with Mansour since joining the Emory faculty in 1980. At Mansour’s memorial service at Cannon Chapel, Guyton enumerated the many gifts Mansour brought to the department, both personally and professionally.

“For years there was a cartoon on the door of our echo laboratory at Emory University Hospital, as you walked out. It said ‘All who pass through this portal bring joy, some by coming in, some by going out.’ When I think of this, I think of Kamal Mansour,” Guyton said. “When he walked into a room he brought joy consistently, every time. His attitude, his joy in teaching, his joy seeing his patients, his joy in his profession, his joy as an educator was not only evident, it was absolutely infectious.

“He is one of those few people who truly find joy in the happiness of others. He loved his residents, because of what he knew that he could give them. He could give them skills, he could give them judgment, and he could make them fearless,” Guyton added. “Not as fearless as he was, but at least giving them the confidence to tackle the tough cases.”

A native of Cairo, Egypt, he received his medical degree from Ein Shams University and began practicing in Ajloun, Jordan, and Gaza before coming to the US. For more than a decade, Mansour returned to Egypt several times a year to train Egyptian and other Middle Eastern doctors on new techniques and to perform major procedures that were beyond the expertise of local physicians. Among his many honors was the Shield of Medicine, an honor bestowed by Egypt to the top 10 Egyptian doctors in the world.

After his retirement in 2004, Mansour and his wife, Cleo Mansour, made a gift to establish the Kamal A. Mansour Professorship of Thoracic Surgery to honor Emory and encourage young surgeons in the field.

Emory thoracic surgeon Omar Lattouf 77C 77G 80M 85MR 88MR met Mansour as a third-year medical student.

“He allowed me to scrub with him in the operating room on his various cases, simple and complex. Some of the steps I learned from him have stayed with me to this day,” Lattouf says. “When I think of Kamal, I see the smile that never departed his face. Always cheerful, always confident, always radiating with enthusiasm and energy. He was full of warmth, knowledge, and energy. I will miss him.”

Survivors include his wife and his daughter, Sylvia Mansour Naguib 79C.

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